Arum wants two stadium fights a year
By Dave Lahr: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says he wants to have two fights a year taking place in one of the huge stadiums, either in New York, Texas or possibly in Los Angeles. Arum’s recent fight with Top Rank fighters Manny Pacquiao and Joshua Clottey sold remarkably well at the Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, bringing in 50,000+ fans for the 12 round mismatch bout. It was good numbers and a sign that Arum could succeed with the stadium fights.
This Saturday night, Arum is putting on another stadium fight, this one at the Yankee Stadium involving two more of Arum’s Top Rank fighters Miguel Cotto vs. WBA junior middleweight champion Yuri Foreman. Arum is hoping to sell at least 30,000 tickets for the stadium which holds over 50,000. The last reported ticket sale numbers for that fight are 12,000, but it’s likely a lot more than that by now. 30,000 would be excellent numbers for a fight involving only one popular fighter – Cotto – and a fighter, the 29-year-old Foreman, that has failed to catch hold with boxing fans because of his less than crowd pleasing style of fighting.
However, it’s difficult to imagine that Arum will be able to continue to out on the stadium fights at two a year in the future, because one of his most popular fighters Pacquiao is set to retire very soon. Indeed, his potential fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. or possibly Cotto, could very well be the last fight of his career before he retires from boxing.
With Pacquiao gone, that would only leave Cotto as a stadium-worthy fighter in Arum’s Top Rank stable. And Cotto could be nearing the end of his career as well. He’s lost two of his last four fights and not looked good in ages. He’s taking a lot of punishment in the ring and it’s uncertain that he’ll even get by the light-hitting Foreman this Saturday night. If Cotto loses that fight, it’s hard to imagine that Arum will be able to get boxing fans to want to fill a stadium to see a guy that’s now losing more than winning fight.
As it is, Cotto is coming off a brutal 12th round knockout loss to Pacquiao in his last fight last year. It seems a bit of a reach for Cotto to be put in a stadium fight off of a loss like the one he suffered in his last fight, because he wasn’t even competitive with Pacquiao. Arum could keep trying to put Cotto in stadium fights even if he gets knocked out by Foreman this Saturday night, but sooner or later Arum will start getting diminishing returns for these stadium fights.
Boxing fans won’t likely want to see Cotto matched against a scrub just so that Cotto can win one for a change. Arum would have to match him tough and that’s the problem. Cotto might have been in too many wars at this point in his career and is starting to show the effects by losing more and more often. Other than Cotto and the soon to be retiring Pacquiao, Arum doesn’t any other stadium worthy fighters in his stable. Antonio Margarito is popular in Mexican but he doesn’t have a boxing license to fight in the United States.
Aside from maybe Texas, it’s hard to see fans flocking to his fights in big numbers in New York or California. Margarito might be able to bring in some numbers at the Cowboy Stadium, but it would have to be a really good opponent for that to happen and there just aren’t that many popular fighters in the welterweight and junior middleweight division for Margarito to fight. Arum would like to put Margarito back in with Cotto in a rematch, but Cotto might veto that idea because he’s said he doesn’t want to fight Margarito again.
Maybe Arum can convince Cotto to take the fight if he lets him know how much money he can make, but then again maybe he won’t be able to. It won’t make a bit of difference if Margarito can’t get his boxing license back in the United States. In that case, Arum would be left with pretty zero fighters to fight in stadiums in the United States. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. likely won’t ever get to that stage in the U.S., because he’s probably lose his next fight against John Duddy.
Former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik isn’t a big enough draw to fill a stadium and besides that, he’s coming off a loss. As such, the chances for future stadium fights for Arum might be going down the drain with Cotto’s aging and Pacquiao’s retirement. There just doesn’t seem to be any one else in Arum’s stable that boxing fans would care enough to see in big numbers.
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